Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Nike don't do XXXL
Irish Catholics are beginning to talk about "heresy", so too are Americans. At the moment it is, in Ireland, asking if those silenced priests are actually heretical, in the USA the same question is applied to nuns. For many there is perhaps a need to define a "heretic". In order to do that one has to define what Catholicism is. It has perhaps come as bit of shock for many that Catholicism has a particular content, and that people might actually be problematic if they don't actually believe it. That was really my complaint about the wishy-washiness of the Faith Cards.
For a generation or two "being Catholic" has been something about "self definition", amounting to "I am a Catholic, because that is what I choose to identify myself as", it fits well with a consumerist culture, where wearing a particular label, is a "choice"; a little like the obese couch potato, identifies himself with a healthy lifestyle by wearing a brand of sports clothing (but Nike don't do XXXL). The culture of the Church is different from the secularist consumerist world, the words of Christ in the Gospel are not about our choice but his, "You did not choose me but I chose you ...".
The reports from Ireland, but it could be from elsewhere in the world, including England and Wales, that most people do not actually believe what the Church teaches should not be a shock to anyone. We have been so concerned that people should identify themselves with belonging to the "Catholic brand", which is no more than a form of "tribalism" rather than bothering to evaluate the quality or content of that belonging.
When Liturgy and Catechises are subjective, a matter of personal tastes, likes or dislikes, certainly when bishops and clergy take on "on-judgementalism" as a virtue, then being a Catholic is whatever one likes it to mean. No wonder the idea not only of a teaching Church is shocking but so too is a Christian life that is about more than niceness and tolerance but is actually about a radical difference in choices and living.
The John 15:16 quote, "You did not choose me but chose you" ends, "so that you may bear fruit, fruit that will last". The lack of fruitfulness is seen simply in the fact that "Catholics" do not believe, empty churches, seminaries, convents and empty heads testify to this.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake